It's Different for Girls

Media Coverage for Women's Sport

Broadcaster hopes to start female sports network

519be16849d4f.preview-300Ryan Howard of Shoreview Press reports

When it comes to sports, Kirk Possehl has been around the block a few times. The 50-year-old Shoreview broadcaster has spent decades doing radio coverage of various local sports, from the Mounds View and White Bear school districts to the University of Minnesota. He’s taken listeners through some exciting moments in hockey, softball, track and soccer, but for Possehl, there’s one sports experience that tops all the rest: the sight of a girl or young woman playing her sport just for the joy of it.

“When you see somebody playing the game [and see] in their eyes [the] passion and love of the game, it’s important, and it really hit home for me when I started comparing the difference between men’s and women’s sports,” Possehl said.

Possehl still loves watching men and boys play sports, but he said that sometimes, the motivation behind girls’ sports just seems pure. Maybe it’s the humility, maybe it’s the knowledge that they likely have no future as professional athletes, but “it’s so obvious that women are playing the games for the right reasons,” he said.

As a broadcaster, Possehl was often inspired by females in sports, but he worried that women and girls often lacked access to others like them, role models that could help encourage a pursuit of excellence on and off the field. His concern was only driven home by studies that found network television stations and ESPN dedicate less than 5 percent of their sports broadcast time to women’s sports.

Possehl and some dedicated others have decided to try to rectify the discrepancy by creating Play for Her Television, a weekly, two-hour online broadcast that will feature stories of female athletes and sports around the country, and eventually — hopefully — around the world. Though it will start out as just one TV show, Possehl believes the idea has enough potential to grow into a full sports network, complete with online forums for females to come and share in their love of their athletics.

Play for Her will also take part in off-screen activities, including promoting volunteer work and working to get mothers and daughters playing sports together.

“This whole thing is going to be character-based and completely positive,” he said.

Once the show is up and running, Possehl believes sponsorships and branding will continue to support operations as advertisers realize what a good market there is for the show. To get Play for Her started, however, he’s seeking donations of $316,000 to the Play for Her non-profit organization by June 1 — the deadline for when he said the show will need to be funded in order for it to start broadcasting by Labor Day.

“Once this thing is funded in the first year, I don’t think it will ever need to be funded again,” he said.

Possehl will not be part of the on-air talent, but as a professional broadcaster himself, he will demand a professional, TV-worthy production. On-air personalities will all be former student athletes with in-depth knowledge of the sports they’re covering, and Possehl wants the writers and behind-the-scenes people to be current student athletes looking for credit to apply to  communication or journalism degrees.

“It will be great day one, or I’m not going to do it,” he insisted.

Possehl knows that sports are more to many people than just a fun way to pass the time. To some, they are an outlet to an alternative way of living, a way to keep out of trouble and to channel energy into something productive. He believes more girls need encouragement to join or stay in that world.

“I’ve seen this transformation and what effect sports have on girls,” he said.

While many male sports “heroes” are rather lacking in moral example, said Possehl, girls who look up to women like the Minnesota Gophers goalie Noora Raty (the best goalie in the world, according to Possehl) are going to find someone who’s humble, nice and a hard worker. They just need to make that connection, and he wants to be the one facilitating that.

“I’m sitting here at 50 years old, telling you that I’ve finally found my place in life,” he said.

This article was sourced from Shoreview Press.

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2013 by in Inequality.
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